Happy landing for a poached eagle
Ed Annon’s spirits were lifted when he read the You Said It column Sunday in The Daily Sentinel, which said his handcrafted wooden eagle, stolen from his yard on Orchard Mesa, had been found.
The eagle, which Annon says he built and displayed as a symbol of American pride, was poached two weeks ago. He reported the theft to the Grand Junction Police Department.
“I didn’t believe I’d ever see it again,” Annon said, while examining a broken foot on the statue in his garage Monday morning.
In addition to the police report, Annon submitted a comment that was published in the Sept. 19 edition of The Daily Sentinel, in the “You Said It” column.
“To the person who stole my golden eagle statue from my yard on Unaweep Avenue: As a veteran, I made this eagle and was proud to have it in my yard. I enjoyed the eagle very much and hope someday you will be ashamed.”
Annon, 80, is a veteran and an avid woodworker who built the eagle out of 2-by-12s, painted the bird’s features, then sunk the post into concrete just outside his front door, where it sat for three years.
“It was just a symbol of the U.S. and the country I served,” he explained. “I couldn’t believe someone would steal it.”
The comment in the column was noticed by Robin Martin, a property crimes investigator with the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department.
The unique item “just rang a bell” for Martin, who recalled seeing it listed on an updated inventory of the contents in the sheriff’s lost-and-found department, according to Heather Benjamin, public information officer for the Sheriff’s Department.
“We thought we’d see if we could track him down through the Sentinel,” Benjamin said.
The department sent in its own You Said It item, which ran in the Sept. 26 edition, in an effort to locate the eagle’s owner.
“To the gentleman who lost his eagle statue and listed it in You Said It last weekend: The Sheriff’s Department has a wooden eagle statue in their lost and found property. The owner of the statue should contact dispatch at 242-6707 so the next available deputy can reunite you with your statue. Please let dispatch know it is regarding lost and found property and case number 10L7723.”
The eagle was found less than two miles from Annon’s home, and was handed over to the Sheriff’s Department on Sept. 12. But because Annon reported the crime to Grand Junction police, and because the eagle had been turned in to the Sheriff’s Department, it is unlikely the connection would have been made without the help of the You Said It column, Benjamin said.
She added that in the near future, the computer systems used by the sheriff’s and police departments will be linked, making it easier to connect people with their lost or stolen property across the county.
After describing the eagle to officers, Annon was allowed to claim his property Monday morning, noting that other than the broken foot, it was none the worse for wear.
“It feels good to see it again, even though it needs a little repair,” he said. He plans on refinishing the bird and adding new eyes in the coming weeks. “I’m just gonna brighten it up a bit before I put it back,” he said.
“I read that column every Sunday because it’s interesting,” Annon said about You Said It.
“I just want to thank everyone who had a hand in getting it back to me.”